The Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI) is collaborating with Luther College students Aidan Brook and Allison Hasenmiller to determine the causes of and solutions for recruiting and retaining volunteer personnel.
As part of Luther's 2022 Social Impact Research Fellowship, Hasenmiller, a social work major, and Brook, a management major, are applying their specialized expertise and abilities to help HSNEI (SIRF).
According to Brook, the main reason she was drawn to the project was her desire to collaborate with a nonprofit organization that relied heavily on volunteers and sought to address real-world issues. It was very compelling for me to commit myself to this project because of the Humane Society of Northeast Iowa's aim to assist and care for neglected and abused animals.
Brook and Hasenmiller have been collaborating with Ries Magnuson, executive director of HSNEI, to determine their needs to appropriately advance their purpose in light of their shortage of volunteers and funds.
Volunteers, according to Magnuson, are crucial to providing the high level of care and enrichment that the animals in our care require. "Our staff members take care of the essentials, including feeding and cleaning, but they don't have enough time to spend with the hundreds of animals we house annually to foster vital socialization. It is crucial to provide each person with enough social and intellectual stimulation to preserve both their physical and emotional well-being.
Without the hard work of our committed volunteers, who come to brush cats, play fetch with dogs, and sit with animals, we would not be able to provide the individualized care that each animal need.
Hasenmiller claims that after eight weeks of investigation, they concluded that the company's operational requirements outweighed its current human resource capabilities. It was evident that the crew was overworked, thus a remedy was required.
The entire process was incredibly approachable thanks to Allison and Aidan. They performed the research and brought back workable, tested suggestions and resources to discuss the following week after we had weekly collaborative meetings to identify areas for improvement or need. It was fascinating to watch the project transform from concepts to solutions in just eight weeks,” said Magnuson.
The team generated more ideas than they could ever implement in the allotted time, so they concentrated on the easiest tasks, such as revitalizing Luther's work-study program with HSNEI and developing internship possibilities that benefit both Luther and the humane society.
We believed that by establishing a work-study arrangement with Luther College, we could reduce staff workloads when Luther students began to enroll. Additionally, a similar-minded internship program would be a big assist, according to Hasenmiller.
About the Social Impact Research Fellowship
The academic advisor’s Britt Rhodes, Brittany Cord, and Alexandra White founded the SIRF in 2018. Through an eight-week summer project, the SIRF program teams up one social work student and one management/accounting student with a community-based group to assist solve a problem or meet a need. The SIRF program gives Luther students the chance to actively learn through hands-on community involvement and use their abilities to support and provide resources to help their community partner organization's mission.
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